A view from the trenches
As the VP of Operations of a 23 year B2B lead management services firm, I have been directly involved with hundreds of B2B sales lead campaigns resulting in many millions of individual interactions with prospects on behalf of our clients for whom we generated hundreds of millions of dollars in sales pipelines. This article is an attempt at sharing some of the insights gained by being a first-hand witness of the marketing evolution of the last 20 years with the hope of helping firms understand where the challenges are in the midst of so many and sometimes confusing trends.
The shifting front lines
Lead generation has always been impacted by the periodic appearance of new tools promising to be panaceas for the perceived high costs of B2B lead generation. Direct mail and mass email marketing are examples of two now almost defunct approaches in the B2B world. In more recent years, the buzz has been around Marketing Automation (MA) which, because it is targeted (sometimes…), seems to be a more rational and effective way of generating inquiry level leads. However, like its predecessors, it often falls short in producing the truly “sales-ready qualified leads” for those with a complex selling process. This is frustrating many lead pipeline managers.
In tandem with the above, we have seen many firms attempting to create in-house pre-sales lead development groups or are thinking about doing so. While, in principle, this makes good business sense, it requires a special skill set to do it successfully. There are issues related to costs, staffing, hiring, training, software tools, management and efficiency that not everyone takes into account when implementing or considering such a move.
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